November 27, 2012

Grandma's Tortelettes (Daring Bakers' Challenge)

This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge was holiday celebration cookies (hosted by Peta of Peta Eats).  This challenge had two parts - to make one of the dozen recipes listed by Peta, and to make another celebration cookie of our choosing.  For the second requirement  I picked out and made some of my grandma's holiday cookies - ones that she called tortelettes.  Due to an unfortunate kitchen malfunction, I didn't get to the first of the criteria.  So, this post is all about grandma's tortelettes!

My grandmother kept a lot of recipes on index cards.  Some she hand-wrote, some were written by typewriter, and some have different handwriting - I'm guessing they were gifts from friends.  While looking through her collection of cookie recipes, I came across one titled "Tortelettes (Christmas Cookies)" - perfect for a holiday cookie challenge.

The index card didn't really give a description of these cookies beyond "Christmas Cookies", so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they are crispy, buttery, and incredibly addicting.  I especially loved the nut and spice mixture on the top of the cookie, and the light lemon flavor imparted by the cookie itself.  After chomping down cookie number 11, I begged my husband to hide them somewhere so I couldn't get any more.

I'm really glad I found that index card!  I'll have to try out some more of my grandma's recipes soon.


Grandma's Tortelettes
Made 45 small heart cookies for me.  The exact number will depend on your cutter and how thin you roll the dough.

Ingredients for Cookie
zest from ½ lemon
½ cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 egg, separated
¾ cup (104 grams) all-purpose flour

Ingredients for Topping
½ almonds, blanched and chopped fine
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
dash of salt

  1. Toss the zest with the sugar in a medium bowl.  Cream the butter and sugar until smooth, about a minute.
  2. Beat the egg yolk into the butter/sugar mixture, saving the white for later.
  3. Beat in the flour until well mixed.  Gather the dough into a ball, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375° F.  Mix together all the topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Roll out the chilled dough on a floured board, until it's about ⅛-inch thick   Using a cookie-cutter, cut cookies out of the dough and place on cookie sheets that have been greased or lined with parchment paper.
  6. Brush the cookies with the egg white and sprinkle with the topping mixture.
  7. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the edges are brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.


  1. I don't usually make cookies with topping, but that's great idea! Your cookies look yummy and I'm glad that you found your grandma's recipe.

    1. I'm glad I found it as well. Yes, the topping was really the best part!

  2. I'm not usually a fan of crispy cookies but I'm losing my mind over these! I think it's the topping that's doing me in. :) Gorgeous photos!

    1. Thanks! I also usually prefer soft cookies to crispy ones, but that didn't stop me from eating way too many of these!


  4. You can find the recipe for Tortelettes in The Joy of Cooking from the early 1950s.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...